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Interviews: James Randi Answers Your Questions 217

A while ago you had the chance to ask James Randi, the founder of The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), about exposing hucksters, frauds, and fakers. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. In addition to his writings below, Randi was nice enough to sit down and talk to us about his life and his foundation. Keep an eye out for those videos coming soon.

Comment Re:And that will also mark (Score 3, Interesting) 378

I'm a heavy KDE user but I keep switching DEs and WMs every now and then. Currently I'm playing with Enlightenment which is as pretty as it always has been. More importantly, it starts up on my aging laptop in less than 2 seconds, which is years ahead of both Gnome and KDE. As another lightweight but full-fledged alternative to the big two, I recommend it highly.

Classic Games (Games)

LucasArts To Re-Release Old Games Through Steam 147

LucasArts today announced that they will soon be releasing games from their back catalog through Steam. The releases begin this Wednesday with a group of eight games, including Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Dig, LOOM, and Star Wars: Battlefront II. This is apparently just "the first round of releases," so we can doubtless expect to see more of their old games before long. Joystiq spoke with LucasArts CEO Darrell Rodriguez, who said the company is considering updated versions of the old games, depending on how well next week's launch of Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition goes. He also hinted at the possibility that some games could be ported to mobile gaming devices, such as the PSP Go and the iPhone.
The Internet

Examining the HTML 5 Video Codec Debate 459

Ars Technica has a great breakdown of the codec debate for the HTML 5 video element. Support for the new video element seems to be split into two main camps, Ogg Theora and H.264, and the inability to find a solution has HTML 5 spec editor Ian Hickson throwing in the towel. "Hickson outlined the positions of each major browser vendor and explained how the present impasse will influence the HTML 5 standard. Apple and Google favor H.264 while Mozilla and Opera favor Ogg Theora. Google intends to ship its browser with support for both codecs, which means that Apple is the only vendor that will not be supporting Ogg. 'After an inordinate amount of discussions, both in public and privately, on the situation regarding codecs for and in HTML5, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that there is no suitable codec that all vendors are willing to implement and ship,' Hickson wrote. 'I have therefore removed the two subsections in the HTML5 spec in which codecs would have been required, and have instead left the matter undefined.'"

At Atlantic Records, Digital Sales Surpass CDs 273

The NYTimes reports that Atlantic is the first major label to report getting a majority of its revenue from digital sales, not CDs. Analysts say that Atlantic is out in front — the industry as a whole isn't expected to hit the 50% mark until 2011. By 2013, music industry revenues will be 37% down from their 1999 levels (when Napster arrived on the scene), according to Forrester. "'It's not at all clear that digital economics can make up for the drop in physical,' said John Rose, a former executive at EMI ... Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to, like concert ticket sales and merchandise from artist tours. ... In virtually all... corners of the media world, executives are fighting to hold onto as much of their old business as possible while transitioning to digital — a difficult process that NBC Universal's chief executive ... has described as 'trading analog dollars for digital pennies.'"

Submission + - Unusual PC upgrades (

prostoalex writes: "For holiday season PC Magazine runs a list of somewhat unusual PC upgrades. They recommend Thermaltake MediaLAB A2331 for turning any PC into a media center, M-Audio FireWire 410 for basic stereo recording, Sunbeam 20 in 1 Superior Panel for increased connectivity and extra ports, Highpoint RocketRAID 2302 for extra eSATA ports and RAID backup, as well as a few other products. Any unusual upgrades Slashdot readers would recommend?"

Comment Re:It is a disease, and that's why it works! (Score 3, Interesting) 167

There's nothing wrong a viral idea, and there's nothing wrong with admitting that an idea is viral.
Your comment made me think of what first attracted me to the Free Software world. To any one who's discovered the elegant beauty of Darwin's evolutionary theory, there is an equal attractiveness in the way the GPL license is framed.
The very fact that the GPL attaches itself to the code its released under, and survives into the downstream modifications that are made to the code.. there are beautiful resemblances to the way successful life itself evolves.
I'm inclined to believe that licenses that are not viral (e.g. BSD) and depend on altruistic reasons to survive, are somehow doomed to extinction (i.e. will be swallowed by proprietary licenses that couldn't care less about perpetuating the BSD cause). In the long run, the GPL will emerge as the fitter license that made its way into the larger user base while retaining pefect copies of itself.
(Of course I'm neither a biologist nor a programmer, so apologies if I sound like I'm talking outta my ass.)

Submission + - Folding@Home hits petaflop milestone (

knight17 writes: "Folding@Home, the Stanford University's ambitious distributed computing project aimed at unlocking the mysteries of protein folding has hit another great milestone. It is the first to achieve a petaflop mark by a distributed computing initiative. The lions share of the processing power is contributed by Sony's Playstation 3 game consoles. Current statistics on the project's home page show processing capacity at 1P Flops with 804T Flops from the PlayStation 3. A further 163T Flops are from Windows-based computers and 43T Flops from graphics processors."

Submission + - What The New GPL Means For Enterprise IT (

anonymous writes: "GPLv3 looks good for customers: It increases user protection from patents and lock-in, while clauses that could have affected Web services have been dropped. After two years of consultation, the Free Software Foundation has published version 3 of the GPL (GNU General Public License GPL), its first update in 16 years. Since then, GPL-licensed software has become a part of most enterprise IT installations (and a lot more besides), so its revision could have a major impact."

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard